Taking Stock, A List

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Making: inroads on a couple of passion projects.

Cooking: muffins every weekend. I have the cutest five year old helper around.

Drinking: lots of coffee with half n half. Even at Starbucks I can’t seem to stand flavored coffee any longer.

Reading: the new Robert Galbraith book, Career of Evil, and Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. I’m a complicated woman.

Wanting: this brow gel and this hat.

Watching: the Great British Baking Show. Similar to Top Chef, but with very little drama, no product placement, and utterly, utterly charming. (Streaming on Netflix and my heart)

Playing: doctor with London. She tucks me in, tells me “rest is best!” and then reads me books. That’s basically my dream day.

Eating: creamy corn and roasted pepper soup from Trader Joe’s.

Wishing: that I could easily paint our downstairs. Gimme all white everything.

Enjoying: running with friends on a regular basis. Feeling like a woman warrior because it’s so cold at 6am!

Loving: that our church is planting a church in London!! It’s exhilarating to pray big Kingdom prayers over a city I love so much.

Hoping: I can learn to keep my plants alive. I want to have a house full of live plants, not a graveyard to my green dreams. 😉

Listening: to Cruz read his Bible out loud.

Needing: a way to get London to bed. Cruz falls asleep with no fuss, and always has. London is throwing every classic stalling technique at me. Drink. Extra snuggle. Incorrect tucking procedure.

Smelling: peppermint, lavender, and lemon essential oils in my diffuser.

Wearing: my new fall boots. Overnight we went from endless summer to fall perfection.

Feeling: hopeful about the future.



4 // Phrases I’m Overusing Right Now


Daniel Tiger helps me parent better. I mean, seriously, that is one genius preschool feline. Those little phrase/songs get stuck in your head, they’re repeated twenty times an episode, and before you know it, your two year old is telling her brother, “if you feel mad and you’re going to roar…” It does the work for me.

It is also a good reminder that having a succinct phrase to help reset or refocus can be very powerful. Phrases don’t have to be perfect, and they might not work forever, but a wellworn phrase at the right time can cut your work in half. They help us know what to expect and get us where we need to be efficiently.

Here are four phrases I’ve got in rotation:

1// “Kindergarten is full of surprises!”

Cruz came home from school with that one. He and I were chatting one day about how the class had missed a minute of break time (or something… it’s sometimes hard to tell) because they had a hard time getting quiet. “How did you feel about that?” I asked. “Well,” he nodded sagely, “kindergarten is full of surprises.” That Mrs. Solodon is a genius! I thought to myself for the one hundredth time since September. I’m going to use that. You can use this phrase any old way you want. Bedtime is full of surprises! Afternoons are full of surprises! Birthday parties are full of surprises! This is much more cheerful than my exasperated, “I have NO IDEA of who is going to be at the park… if the lion will be out at the zoo… if we have any cookies at home.” The park is full of surprises!

2// “Let’s experiment.”

I grabbed this one from Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. Like yours truly, she likes do things that she knows she’ll be good at. Ahem. Saying “let’s experiment” to myself takes the burden of success away. It’s just an experiment (and it’s full of surprises!): the only result needed is data. Was it good? Was it bad? I find out and then I know. As someone who does not like risks, I say this to myself a lot.

3// “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away.”

Of course we need a Daniel Tiger phrase! There is a child in this house who shall remain nameless that recently told me that their potty accident was caused by being “too busy.” Uh-uh. Too busy will not work. (And I sure hope I’m not overusing “I’m busy” but I think I am and I really hate that phrase) So we’ve busted out this magic phrase. Everyone knows it. Everyone uses it.

4// “Hey man, I’m just doing the best that I can!”

Stolen from… Brene Brown? Elizabeth Gilbert? I can’t remember where I first saw this, but it is a game changer. The other night I bought a pack of diapers. The checker (bless her heart) asked me if these diapers were for my current baby or my upcoming one. Uuugggghhhh. There is no one on earth that enjoys being mistaken for pregnant. I immediately felt embarrassed about my little tummy and took a mental inventory of whether or not I could fit in some extra runs or a new meal plan… shhhh. Hey man. I’m just doing the best that I can. End of story.

Those are my overused phrases right now. I can’t wait to hear your overused phrases below!

The Smallness and the Quiet

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There is so much noise in my life. It’s not loud, necessarily, but there’s noise. We live in a crowded subdivision near the airport, so the noise of UPS trucks and dogs and bikes and airplanes is constantly in the background. During this endless summer, our backdoor is permanently open and neighbors’ conversations float over our fence and into my ears (both ways I’m sure, and I’m sorry about that!). My kids are “out-loud processors” and I am all day every day the sounding board for their precious thoughts and questions. When I get time to myself, I tend to fill the silence with more words. I turn on Netflix, I turn on a podcast. I give myself something to laugh about and I am hardly ever alone because Liz Lemon or Sarah Koenig are my constant companions. It’s easy and a habit and while it’s not the worst, it’s not the best. I take the easy way too often and forget about the gift of a hard space. 

The other week, I gave myself a little silence, by accident, and now I give myself that gift every day. After Cruz and London lay down for their naps, I set the timer on my phone for fifteen minutes and clean in silence. I pick up their toys, match their shoes. I corrall, I sweep, I rinse lunch dishes. In silence. I hear the gentle trickle of our oil diffuser. I hear the sweep of my broom. And after a few minutes I start to hear myself. I think thoughts and plan my writing. I pray as I wash dishes. My mind travels from our cul de sac and our homegroup to our church, to our country, to Syria. I want this time of silence to grow my heart and to allow me to trust the Lord more and more. I love the miracle of prayer– that my hands can be busy with the smallest, dirtiest, most mundane of this world while my heart and my mind and my soul are waging war for good and light. I can carry out the trash while I intercede for refugee children and for the children in our neighborhood. I am not trapped by the smallness and the quiet moment– I am liberated.

An Interview with a Five Year Old

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The other day a friend asked if I was emotional about having a five year old, you know, real kid status. It was a good question and I told her that having my kid turn five kind of felt like myself turning thirty– a big milestone birthday that is slightly dreaded but feels really comfortable once it arrives. So far so good on five.

Last year Cruz and I did a little interview when he turned four. It was so fun that I wanted to do it again! Cruz was excited, but thought he would like it better if he were the one asking questions. #leadershipskillz

What is your name?


How old are you?


What is your favorite thing to do?

Make up new planets. I come up with new names.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A builder that builds houses and makes new streets. I can even name the roads that you go on. I want to be a builder so I can make new things.

Who do you like to spend time with?

My grandma. That’s it. Ok, also friends at school.

What are you good at?

Drawing maps.

 What makes you laugh?

[Reading over my shoulder. “That word doesn’t look like ‘laugh.’ ‘GH’ should say ‘ie.’ Discussion about /igh/ and /augh/ follows.]

Well, funniness. Like silly things. Mrs. Solodon! One time in chapel she was acting like a parrot and said, “put that away!”

[This really must have been hilarious because he dissolved into giggles for quite awhile. That Mrs. Solodon and her chapel humor!]

What’s your favorite time of day?

School time!

What’s a scary thing?

Really, really dark caves. Predators. [Totally legit, buddy.]

Who is your best friend?

My classmates.

What do you like to do with your family?

Play. It’s great when we go get ice cream.

What do you like to learn about?

Planets and dinosaurs.


So… What’s In Your Bag?

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London is getting into a major purse stage. She likes to carry the bike helmet hanging upside down from her arm. “Isss my baaaag,” she tells me. She is also in that major two-year-old collector stage, so purses just make practical sense. She’s got stuff to carry and needs something to carry it all in.

But she also likes my purses and is constantly dumping my stuff out of my bags. I suppose I could put them away, but moving on. She dumped everything out the other day and all the seemingly random stuff in there was cracking me up. It’s so random, but so so necessary! And because I’m nosy, I’m hoping that if I show you what’s in my bag, you’ll tell me what’s in yours. It’s good to share like that!

Here’s what I’m carrying around these days…

+ Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. We have a shared family Google calendar as well, but this paper planner helps me actually feel organized and coordinated. Yes, it’s large, but I take it everywhere I go so that I can work from anywhere!

+ OptiFlow Pens. Did you buy some yet? I gave a student evaluation at my old job the other day and brought my own pen along. That’s normal… yes?

+ Greens. I know I’ve talked about Greens before, and this isn’t the last time you’ll hear about them. Some real talk about greens and health… ever since London was born, every month, about a week before my period started, I turned into a mess. I was prickly; my hackles were up all the time. I would rage (mostly inwardly), I would cry, I would get offended by the slightest thing. This would last for days and it was exhausting knowing that I wasn’t acting or feeling like myself, but also not really knowing how to fix it. I started drinking Greens to help with some of those hormonal imbalances (antioxidants, probiotics, magnesium), and I feel.the.difference. Greens help me to feel healthy and happy and like myself. They come with me everywhere!

+ Plastic Grapes. Can’t leave home without ’em (apparently).

+ Phone. Phone case from Paper Source.

+ Harmonica. Small BMW. Like you do.

+ Honest Travel Wipes

+ Mini van keys. How I wish I could gift one to each of you! The fact that I can open the van doors from inside our house? Bliss!

+ Wallet from my twice-a-year pilgrimage to Target. #sbprobz

+ Cruz’s preschool art project. I’ve accomplished things in my life, but there’s nothing that makes me more proud that walking out of preschool with a Cruz-project in my hands.


Because he’s a great husband, when Tovi started noticing that my health had really suffered this spring and that hormonally I wasn’t feeling like myself, he encouraged me to do some research and to make my health a priority. I’ve been eating better, doing pilates most morning, and I am so glad that I found these greens and would love to help you get your hands on them too! You can check out my distributor page here and I would absolutely love to chat about plant-based wellness! This is not about being salesly (so so out of my comfort zone). I am just thrilled to find a product that makes me feel this good (and equally thrilled to add an additional way to our family while staying home with our kids). Let’s talk!

The Sweetest Kind of Weekend

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It’s been just about the sweetest weekend you could ever dream up. The kind where all the little things just worked together and the kids played nicely outside and we saw friends and family and ate burritos more than once. I didn’t take a lot of pictures this weekend because it wasn’t until I sat down on Sunday night and thought, oh yeah, that was all the good stuff. All the little moments piling up until it just blows you over in one breath.

So what makes a great weekend?

MOPS. Forever and ever I am so glad that we meet on Fridays because kicking off the weekend with brunch and friends and truth and tears is the way to go (even if it did end in a meltdown. Let’s not worry about the meltdown).

Having a good friend over for dinner. I made one of my favorite dishes and the whole evening was fun and low-key.

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Kids who nap. Forever and ever amen bless you children for being A+ nappers. While they napped I treated myself to some Pilates and a skinny wrap (I will feel so confident at the pool this year! I’m making it happen!).

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Cul de sac playtime all the time. Bikes, baby strollers, Cozy Coupes, everything! It’s basically planes, train, and automobiles around here. If you want to hear the cutest thing ever, listen my almost two-year-old say “cul de sac.”

Too many episodes of a TV show that shall remain nameless (but is a total guilty pleasure and rhymes with Schmitty Bittle Flyers…)

And then throw Mother’s Day on top of all that goodness…

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With all my heart, I love my little people. I do not take for granted the gift of being a mother and the gift of having my own mom as such a shining, wonderful example of what it means to sacrifice for children and to run after your dreams. To have all those people in my home on Mother’s Day? Incredible! After a long snoozy, reading, breakfast-y morning, we went to the zoo, went shopping downtown (just me and my mom! yes!), and ate Mexican for the second time in one day. As we were getting ready for bed last night, Tovi asked me how I had liked my day. “Every part of it was perfect, ” I said. “But it was also a great reminder that I’m doing a good job as a mom. That being faithful in the small things is paying off in the big things.” Yup. There is nothing more I need. My cup overflows.


While You Weren’t Napping

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While you (both of you!) weren’t napping…

I came in to give you extra snuggles because you said you hadn’t had enough.

I rewrapped your blanket because you like to be burrito-ed during your naptimes and I aim to please. Does anyone else wrap you as well as me?

I brought you “one skinny carrot” because you were hungry.

And then I brought you one sandwich, two graham crackers, and three strawberries because you are the very hungry caterpillar and are trying to turn into a butterfly.

I slid my ipad under your door and whisper-shouted, “Just play whatever you want!” because I am a really intentional parent.

I sent you back upstairs because you pranced downstairs naked as a jaybird and announced that you were ready for your bath. (Literally, this has never happened in your entire childhood, so as soon as your sister woke up, you both had a bath)

I brought up stamps, paper, and markers up to your room, and started crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t walk into a disaster later. (I did)

I brought you one yogurt-covered pretzel because for the love of all that is holy will you please go to sleep?

I ate my entire secret stash of dark chocolate for what I think are obvious reasons.

Go to sleep, you guys.